When discussing early literacy, its development begins at birth and continues its development throughout yearly childhood years. Literacy is having the skill to read and write. Early stages of literacy begin to develop with the pre-alphabetic skills where they are able to understand the function and its characters and print. “An alphabetic period wherein the child becomes conversant with the alphabetic code and acquires increasingly function word identification and text processing skills Literacy: Reading (Early Stages), 2005.” Phoneme awareness is developed during this stage of literacy as well. The third and final stage of literacy is considered to be advanced alphabetic/orthographic stage where children have the ability to combine their knowledge in decoding and spelling.
These beginning years of a young child are the years where teachers and parents have the ability to prepare youngsters with concepts and skills in reading and wring. Having this ability will allow students to further a lifelong desire for reading that may help other areas of development as a growing child. In this paper, practical techniques in increasing early literacy skills among children will be discussed and examined. Strategies in improving development in all areas of literacy including listening skills will also be gathered and discussed.
Promoting Development of Phonological Awareness
Being phonetically aware offers the foundation in becoming a fluent reader, along with preparing them in skills for later reading skills in phonics, word analysis, and spelling words out. Studies have shown that the common thread in early reading skills is the failure to understand or process language phonologically (David J. Chard and Shirley V. Dickson, 1999). This problem has been considered to be effecting for both students with and without learning disabilities. The basis of phonological awareness comprehends how “oral language can be divided into smaller components and manipulated. Spoken language can be broken down in many different ways, including sentences into words and words into syllables (David J. Chard and Shirley V. Dickson, 1999).” One other component that is associated with these skills is obtaining phonemic awareness.
This is having the understanding how words individually sound, while being able to influence or change these words into blends or segmenting them into new words. Promoting phonological skills and awareness begins as early as four years old. Including a variety of activities that will help train these youngsters in developing strong reading skills is highly important and much needed to see successful progression. Reasonable instructional actives for young children should include rhyming activities, nursery rhymes, and other activities the sensitize children with in comparison and differences in sounds of words.
Segmentations words games such as “I scream you scream” while clapping each word out and change the name games by removing first letters of words to make new words. Vocabulary based learning can positively help develop literacy development. Children are able to make further connections when words that are already spoken are implemented into new parts of instruction. Implementing sight words, letter patterns, and pictures words are also highly recommended when trying to infuse old and new skills.
Enhancing Listening Skills
Successful learning is needed in many areas that teachers need to consistently meet and introduce. Students need direct instruction, structure, practice, and time on task routines where they are able to explore and engage in active learning. “Skills associated with reading readiness include: (a) auditory discrimination: the ability to identify and differentiate familiar sounds, similar sounds, rhyming words, and the sounds of letters; (b) visual discrimination: including color recognition, shape, and letter identification; (c) visual motor skills: such as left to right eye progression, cutting on a line with scissors and coloring within the lines of a picture; and (d) large motor skills: such as skipping, hopping, and walking on a line (Early literacy development, 2011).”
Oral language can also be included when considering successful literacy development. Storytelling and “talk and literacy” can be both considered to be two great activities that teachers and parents can include in everyday experiences. Sharing picture books, listening to a story aloud, drawing, coloring and early writing are all samples of literacy; however, reading aloud helps students gain experiences for later samples where students may transfer comprehension to writing. Listening also increases engaged conversation, while offering insight of comprehension of text (Early literacy development, 2006). When introduced properly oral language development should increase in areas such as inexpressive skills, receptive, and vocabulary usage.
Techniques on Promoting Literacy Components
Comprehension strategies help children understand, remember and communicate what they read. Comprehension helps children have the ability to connect what they are reading to what they already know. With practice, students are able to make predictions, create ideas, raise questions, and problem solve. Both teachers and parents will be able to build vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and motivation while making assessments, reflections, planning, and teaching/re-teaching any skills that were introduced. Reading fluency allows students read text accurately and quickly. Teaching skills that can help promote reading fluency is identifying punctuation, grouping words, and using expressive language to make further outcomes. When a student demonstrates weakness in fluency they read slowly, word to word, focusing on decoding rather than comprehending the context of what they are reading.
Offering age appropriate instruction and materials when implementing particular skills or curriculum is highly recommended. Playing games or using nursery rhymes using words in one way to informally implement or reinforced these particular skills. Using sentence strips promotes sight word identification, building simple or complex sentences, or grouping words together. Having weekly spelling bees using pictures prompts will help promote connections to words as well. Breaking units into smaller units and modeling activities as it is first introduced help increase success with literacy. (Chard, David J., Dickenson, Shirley V., 1999)
Beginning stages of writing is when young a young child’s draws and scribbles. Pretend writing, making list, writing or drawing messages or stories are also samples of writing. Letters or clusters of letters are followed. “Children move into the letter- name stage in which vowels beings to appear along with prominent constants (The Development of Literacy in the Elementary Schools, 2011).” Students also play with letters and pictures when they begin to invent words calling it “invent spelling”. Keeping track of ideas and assessments with journal entries help teacher assess student’s progression.
Activities and Techniques in Oral and Written Language
By the age of 10, children can view their writing through the eyes of a reader. Their writings become more multidimensional, and they can shift between narrative and description and narrative and dialogue in one piece (The Development of Literacy in the Elementary School, 2011).” Writing becomes meaningful when students are able to think and rethink ideas. Students should be able to make mix print, spoken words, visual, and digital components into completing writing abilities.
Reading and writing go hand in hand. The best ways to help implement these skills is by having students involved in what they are currently reading. Providing samples of illustrations while offering different styles or types of writing are essentially needed. Graphic organizes help keep students ideas well organized. Writing letters, teaching students how to navigate through email, using cross word puzzles, word walls, creating stories, creating recipes or directions on how to build something are great examples of incorporating both reading and writing skills.
Building Strong Partnership with Parents
Parent involvement is very important when trying to implement literacy skills in young students. Encouraging parents by offering enriched reading samples or a book to children is a good step towards increasing literacy awareness. Talking and singing song to children are also great opportunists for children to learn new words or ideas. Preparing students with reading readiness programs are all helpful when trying to instill social, physical and cognitive abilities. At times, teachers will have to teach parents how to become more responsive when reading or sharing information.
Parents should offer a variety of opportunities in exposing children to words, symbols, and logos where students may be able to increase literacy skills. Keeping both parents and teachers equally informed will help bridge the gaps of between illiteracy and emergent learners. In closing, providing the foundation for building successful literacy skills should be considered while engaging them in meaningful discussions and learning. These beginning years of a young child are the years where teachers and parents have the ability to prepare youngsters with concepts and skills in reading and writing. Having this ability will allow students to further a lifelong desire for reading that may help other areas of development as a growing child.
Early literacy development. (2006). In Key Concepts in Early Childhood Education and Care. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?qurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.credoreference.com/entry/sageukecec/early_literacy_development
Early Literacy Development. (2011). In Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?qurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.credoreference.com/entry/routengart/early_literacy_development Chard, David J., Dickenson, Shirley V. (1999) Phonological Awareness: Instructional and Assessment guidelines. http://www.ldonline.org/article/6254 The Development of Literacy in the Elementary School. (2011). In Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts. Retrieved http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?qurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.credoreference.com/entry/routengart/the_development_of_literacy_in Miller, M., & Veatch, N. (2010). Teaching literacy in context: Choosing and using instructional strategies. The Reading Teacher, 64(3), 154-165. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/791757793?accountid=7374 Gordon, C. (2010). Meeting Readers Where They Are. School Library Journal, 56(11), 32.